Public Authorities

Meet the users of the Demand Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom la-Bretèche

Demand-Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom

We keep focusing on Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche and its Demand-Responsive Transport network “TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités” (ex Flexigo Gally-Mauldre).

Our first ride on dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport from Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche train station takes us to the town hall square on which we meet Samir. Samir is one of the DRT drivers. His service is over and he was kind enough to give us a few minutes.

The service has positive reputation among the local residents as Saint-Nom-la Bretèche with no transportation was a very serious issue. The service also seduces non-residents for very different uses. It allows to mix all types of users and nationality, people are seeing each other more frequently than before.

For Quentin, 27, a young Parisian, passing through St-Nom-la-Bretèche and met a little later, the service is a real vector of social link.

We feel that there is a desire to connect people, to make them move together. The minibus is modern, the driver knows your name and you have to announce yourself when you get on. It gives the impression the driver knows personally the people he picks up.

Quentin uses the service for the first time:

It’s the friends I’m meeting at St-Nom-la-Bretèche who told me about it. They would have picked me up at the train station if the service didn’t exist. At least I don’t disturb and I preserve my autonomy. It is mind-blowing that the service is included in my Navigo pass. Even if I live in Paris, I would have liked to hear more about the service. There are zero ads, it might have motivated me to spend a little time in the outer suburbs, especially on weekends when the weather is good.

On the way back, we approach Christian, 52, working in St-Nom-la-Bretèche for several years and living in Mantes-la-Jolie. He testifies:

Without this service, I would have had to come much earlier to work. I spend almost the same travel time by car but at least I avoid the traffic jams and I save my gas. I can also avoid pollution because my car remains at home.

When we ask him what he thinks about the booking app, he confesses:

I’m not very comfortable with smartphones so I book my rides in advance by phone, usually for the whole week. It’s good they kept a phone number to call.


About TAD IDFM Gally-Mauldre
  • 11 towns served
  • Launched on January 2nd, 2018
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Gally-Mauldre inter municipality
  • More than 250 trips / weekday
  • Operated by Transdev
  • 6000 trips / month
  • + 95% of bookings made via the mobile application
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The DRT service was set up to facilitate intermodality by allowing the inhabitants of the territory to access the train stations of Maule, Plaisir and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche at peak hours without using their personal vehicle. The service also facilitates senior and non-motorized youth travels in the area by offering off-peak hours services during weekdays and Saturdays to cities of the inter municipality and train stations.


Read more (in French)

Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport


To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

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Meet the users of the Demand Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche

Demand-Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom

On the occasion of the 18th edition of the European Mobility Week, focus on the west of Paris in Saint-Nom la-Bretèche and its Demand-Responsive Transport network “TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités” (ex Flexigo Gally-Mauldre).

Once arrived at the Foret de Marly train station, we go to the DRT stop and wait for the minibus that we booked a few hours before via the “TAD IDFM” app. Once aboard, we meet Huynh, 39, who has just moved to St-Nom-la-Bretèche. She heard about the service from her husband who got the information on internet:

Although I don’t use it very regularly, I am truly satisfied. It’s very practical and easy to book.

Huynh uses the service to go home located 30 minutes on foot from the train station.

Before, I moved to the station by car, now I can book a minibus in advance, which are available anytime. I save fuel and I don’t need to park or pay for it. I know I can rely on this service for my daughter’s travels to and from the train station which is located in the middle of the forest. It reassures me to know that a minibus is waiting for her when she comes back from Paris at night.

Akhil, 17, high school student, also living in St-Nom-la-Bretèche, is silently listening to us from an adjacent place. He intervenes:

There is no comparison possible. Before, I hitchhiked sometimes to go to school in the morning or to go back home in the evening. It wasn’t easy and I walked sometimes more than 45 minutes when no one wanted to pick me up. It was really tough and unsafe. This service reassures my parents, especially when it’s dark.

For Akhil who has no problem in handling the application, the time slots available are many but sometimes don’t match the train schedules :

We end up having sometimes 15-20 minutes to wait otherwise we miss the train.

The student adds that efforts in terms of communication and acculturation still have to be done:

Sometimes, people can’t get on the bus because they don’t know that they have to book a ride. It’s frustrating for them and the driver and it could be avoided if everyone knew the rules of the game from the beginning. At the train station, no one can really explain the service operation and the signs – when they exist – are not clear enough in my opinion.

We get off the bus at the “Europe 1” stop to meet Mélanie, 37, on the town hall square. Mélanie is a young mother who lives 5 minutes from there.

I use my car exclusively, I never needed to use the service but I find it convenient. I may use it if I have an issue with my car and need to go urgently to the train station or the surroundings.

At mentioning previously-met Akhil and Huynh’s testimonies, Melanie confesses:

My children will start to move alone soon and it is true that it’s a solution that would reassure me.

Read the next chapter

About TAD IDFM Gally-Mauldre
  • 11 towns served
  • Launched on January 2nd, 2018
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Gally-Mauldre municipality
  • More than 250 trips / weekday
  • Operated by Transdev
  • 6000 trips / month
  • + 95% of bookings made via the mobile app
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The DRT service was set up to facilitate intermodality by allowing the inhabitants of the territory to access the train stations of Maule, Plaisir and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche at peak hours without using their personal vehicle. The service also facilitates senior and non-motorized youth travels in the area by offering off-peak hours services during weekdays and Saturdays to cities of the inter municipality and train stations.


Read more (in French)

Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport



To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

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Meet the users of the Demand-Responsive Transport: La Ferté sous-Jouarre

Demand-Responsive Transport: La Ferté

On the occasion of the 18th edition of the European Mobility Week, we’re heading east: La Ferté sous-Jouarre, to meet the users of the recently inaugurated TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités Demand-Responsive Transport network. Located less than an hour by train from Paris, the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre train station is particularly busy during peak hour. The bus station nearby is a hub for school buses to neighboring municipalities during weekdays.

Mylène, 48, is a driver of one of the Transdev Darche-Gros buses dedicated to the DRT service. She is performing her first service of the day and is waiting for the users.

I had some difficulties with the driver’s tablet at the beginning, but after a few minutes of use, everything becomes very easy. The application we use informs us of the number of passengers that have to pick up, their name and  their destination. Each passenger must give his name to get a seat on board. I find it allows to create a real contact with the passengers. Before they were hardly speaking to us. Now we even tell each other a little bit about our lives. A teenager I drive every day explained to me that thanks to the service, the custody was now better shared between her parents.

Hugo, 15, who has already had his seat on the bus, is waiting with the driver for the the passengers. Hugo lives in Rebais, 20 minutes from La Ferté. His parents heard about the service on the radio and had him download the application. Since then, he uses it every day mornings and evenings.

In general I book in advance for the whole week, since I already know my class time schedules. Before there was no transport between La Ferté and Rebais so I had to make a detour via Meaux. I had to take the Transilien and I easily lost 30-40 minutes.

Mourad, 40, who is listening to us, testifies:

I work in Paris and I live in Rebais. I use the service since its creation. As for me, it means less stress and fatigue compared to the car I used to drive to go to the train station. I had to leave it on the parking lot. In terms of travel time, it’s exactly the same. The booking? I do it on the application, it’s done in not even two minutes, everything goes very fast, it’s great.

Another DRT vehicle arrives. We talk to Nicolas, his driver.

Demand-Responsive Transport: La Ferté

This is a service that was eagerly awaited by locals. Indeed, most of them live in small villages where you can only go by car. We may still be in Paris region and one hour from the city, it’s the countryside here. Once the rush hour is over, there is no one. The service has just been launched and there is still much to do in term of signage and communication but we see new passengers everyday. We started with 1-2 users. Now we are more around 10-12 users. People who were struggling to go home before. Most of them are kids. People say it is a service that threatens conventional bus lines but I would say the opposite. This is a good way to test the attendance of the service and then develop a fixed line if necessary. For now, we still use our big buses but we have new minibuses coming soon. They will be more suitable. Most of the time we stop at bus stops that already existed. It’s easier for the users.
About TAD IDFM  La Ferté (first figures after 10 days of operation)
  • 4 towns served, about 19,000 inhabitants concerned
  • Launched on September 2, 2019
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Coulommiers Pays de Brie inter municipality
  • Operated by Transdev Darche-Gros
  • Up to 20 bookings / weekdays
  • 95% of bookings made via the mobile app
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The service was set up to open up the north-eastern sector of the department by improving intra-agglomeration mobility. The objective is to facilitate the connection between the communes of La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, Rebais and La Ferté-Gaucher and to improve the service of the transport nodes (La Ferté-sous-Jouarre bus and railway stations).


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Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport


To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

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Meet the users of the Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

We are heading to Le Cotentin, Normandy and its urban area to meet the (young) users of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport network, inaugurated last summer 2019.

First step at the “College” stop which is located opposite the Denis Diderot high school in Tourlaville, a town located in the urban area of Cherbourg. We meet Antoine, 12, who is patiently waiting to go to class. He confesses:

I don’t use the service because I already live next to the high school and I like to walk or use my scooter to get there. Nevertheless, several people of my class take the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport every time we finish classes. I see them get on board. They mainly use it to go home after school but not every day. Before using it, most of them came by car with their parents.

If I had to use it myself, it would be mostly to go to town. The big advantage I see is that the van can come at times the bus might not be there. It’s more convenient and faster.

Four of Antoine’s comrades arrive precisely at the moment we are talking. When they get off the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport, we question them successively. For Mathis, 12 years old, who lives in Le Becquet, he heard about the service at the beginning of the school year.

Of course I’m not the only one around to use it. I book the van directly from my smartphone every week, several days in advance. It’s been between 1 and 2 months that I use it mainly to go to high school, which avoids me to go by bike or by foot. It takes between 10 and 30 minutes to get there. It’s complicated when it’s cold and rainy. In addition, in winter it’s dark very early and the street is not enlightened where I live.

Mickael, same age, same grade, adds:

It’s a very convenient service because buses come here only every two hours. I use it with a friend who books for me. As we live in the same place, he books on my behalf and I take the van with him.

For Fanny, who uses the service every day to go to high school, it’s her elder sister who books for her via her smartphone.

I like the service because it goes fast.

Paulo, doesn’t have a smartphone (yet) but his mother books his trips every Wednesday and Thursday through the app.

What is great is that you can book at any time. Sometimes we have a teacher who is absent or we have free time slot in our timetable. When the service did not exist, I stayed at school or I took line 8 but it does not come all the time.

Many high school students use the service, we ask Véronique, a driver of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport if she meets other types of public.

It’s  true that I carry mostly middle school and high school students. Sometimes I carry 5-6 of them from the same class! There are some adults too, especially during the holidays. After that, since we are in the countryside, there are older people. For them, the service is not optimal because they have to get off at the stops where classic buses come to go to the city center. The minibus itself is not really suitable for the elderly, the door is difficult to close but it seems that it will evolve!

Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

It is a service suitable for children and teens who don’t live in the city center. Here we also have sport complexes that offers a lot of activities in the afternoon. There are children we’re picking up out of class, we bring them home and then, an hour later, we bring them back to their sports activities. For the parents, it is very practical because they don’t have to go back and forth in the middle of the day anymore. We are 3 to run the service 3x24h per week, from Monday to Saturday, except on Sundays and public holidays so we relieve the parents a lot during the week.


About La Saire TAD DRT service

Launched in July 2019 in partnership with Zephirbus (Keolis group), La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport  service aims to ease the access to the heart of the city of Cherbourg from the peripheral municipalities, especially those located on the eastern part of the territory. Its +900 trips per month score an average of 4.9 / 5.

Read more (in French)

Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport



To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.


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Interview with Arnaud Catherine, Le Cotentin Urban Community

Demand-Responsive Transport: Interview

Interview of Arnaud Catherine, councilor of the Urban Community of Le Cotentin about the implementation of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport.

In which context was born the project of La Saire TAD?

Originally there was only Cherbourg-en-Cotentin which had a public urban transport network: 6 to 8 regular lines, coupled with some Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) services for people with reduced mobility called Itineo Access. It was a Demand-Responsive Transport service in the very classic sense of the word. It did not use tools based on artificial intelligence. Reservations were made in advance by phone and drivers’ shifts was managed by a dedicated staff.

We structured ourselves to put in place a real travel plan for the whole Cotentin territory. We did a lot of analytical work on some projects such as the BRT, which alone might not be up to our new ambition. Finally, we experimented three new mobility solutions:

  • Long-term-lease power-assisted electric bicycle, which was a great success and showed a real desire to move differently.
  • Electric, thematic, touristic and free shuttle that we used to experience gratuity.
  • Smart and dynamic Demand-Responsive transport in rural areas with Padam Mobility.
How Demand-Responsive Transport adapt to your mobility challenges?

The low density of our territories prohibits us from offering traditional bus transportation. It would allow at best a dozen people to move during the day. Inspired by the example of the Orleans Metropolis, the Padam Mobility Demand-Responsive Transport solution seemed to us the most adapted to our territory: an urban area of ​​80,000 inhabitants surrounded by peri-urban or rural territories of about 100,000 inhabitants.

Padam Mobility has been a revelation. You have opened our minds to the fact that we cannot put conventional transit lines everywhere, especially when the territories are not dense and the rolling stock is not suitable.

What are the feedbacks?

Once the service launched at La Saire, the success was almost instantaneous. We faced a colossal expectation of the inhabitants to have a flexible transport service that is adapted to their uses. We soon realized that we were not ambitious enough in the delimitation of the mobility pool benefiting from the service.

Why did you begin with La Saire?

This territory has 3 municipalities that touch Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, and therefore touch the conventional network on which we wanted to interface the Demand-Responsive Transport with. It was a way for us to analyze the relevance of our service design. We wanted to know if the users would come to connect to the conventional network.

What are the future developments?

We intend to make the service 100% accessible to People with Reduced Mobility (PRM) throughout the urban area. Regarding the motorization, an ongoing study will lead us to make choices. To give up gas, it will be necessary to arbitrate between electric and biogas motorization. Today we have experimented on a mobility pool that is far too small. Ultimately, all mobility pools must be covered and connected to the structuring network.

We expect to ramp up gradually. There is a huge expectation from our citizens.

Why did you choose to work with Padam Mobility?

We know that we have an essentially urban, diurnal and schoolchildren-centric public transportation network. Being able to move at night, to go to a show requires to propose a global offer.

Padam Mobility is really the brick that was missing in our global transport offer. We had in mind the structuring lines and services we had connected to them (electric bikes, school buses). For the rest we had nothing. DRT with Padam Mobility makes it possible to complement the existing offer and to propose an integrated and global offer, to eventually cover all the needs of the inhabitants. That’s the point.

Padam Mobility would come to finish to mesh completely our territory which is rather rural by offering a transportation service for all. Whether you live in Taillepied, 26 inhabitants, or in Cherbourg-in-Cotentin, 82,000 inhabitants, with Padam Mobility, everybody could benefit from a mobility offer. It’s revolutionary for a territory like ours.


Arnaud Catherine, delegate councilor for urban transportation of the Cotentin Urban Community and 4th deputy of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in charge of energy and energy transition.

About La Saire TAD, the Cotentin’s Demand-Responsive Transport Service

Launched in July 2019 in partnership with Zephirbus (Keolis group), La Saire TAD DRT service aims to facilitate the access to the heart of the city of Cherbourg from the peripheral municipalities. Its +900 trips per month score an average of 4.9 / 5.

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Demand-Responsive Transport : Why aren’t they all equal? The reservation channels

Demand-Responsive Transports: reservation channels

There are many types of Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT). They  vary both on the service and on the reservation method. Although it may seem anecdotal, the differences are significant and the results too. How to navigate? We light up the situation with a couple of articles. Today let’s talk about the different reservation channels.

The performance of a Demand-Responsive Transport management system is often reduced to its algorithm. While it is crucial, it is not the only success factor for a DRT.

The importance of the reservation channels

We should not underestimate the importance of reservation channels and their ergonomics. Most of the time, the single or main Demand-Responsive Transport reservation channel is a call center: you have to contact a service by telephone to book your seat. This fits well to the uses of a part of the population: the elderly. They are not comfortable on the internet and have the time to make a call during the day to book their trip. For the rest, several disadvantages must be taken into account:

  • Users can only make reservations during defined time period on daytime. But we rarely plan our trips during the day. We think about them either on the evening or on the morning. On average on our service, 46% of the reservations are made before or after in the evening.
  • Teenagers and young adults do not like making phone calls (source in French)
  • Reservation by phone requires agents to take reservations. As a result, the more people who use the service, the more switchboard operators.
The advantages of online reservation

More and more networks have taken the measure of these disadvantages and offer the possibility to book by internet. This limits the staff needed to manage reservations and allows users to book their trip at any time. However, it will be necessary to think of a mobile version of the booking wesite at the risk of missing out more than the half of the traffic: in France, there are more Internet users to connect via their smartphone than their computer (Source in French).

Finally, since more recently, some communities offer an online booking, by phone but also via a booking app. This is for example the case of TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités.

Why favoring the reservation by app?
  • In France, 73% of French people own a smartphone according to the Digital Barometer of 2017.
  • Smartphone users spend more than 85% of their time on their smartphone to use an app (Source in French).
  • Apps allow to make more sophisticated and complete interfaces while requiring a less qualitative Internet connection.
  • Communication with users is facilitated. Thanks to the notifications it is possible to warn the user when his van is about to arrive; to inform him in real time about his situation (arrival time, delay or possible advance) and ask him to rate his experience at the end of his trip.

In rural areas, an ergonomic and well-designed website and a call center should be enough to meet the demand on one hand. On the other hand, if your audience is made up of smartphone users (service within peri-urban areas, industrial sites, activity areas , railway stations, airports and residential areas), we highly recommend the use of mobile apps as a reservation channel.

What do the users expect?

The wave of Uber, Lyft and other chauffeur-driven cars services have shown how far booking a trip can be easy. Users expect an interface with same quality for public transport. Setting up such an offer is quickly rewarded. A well-designed application can channel almost all bookings and  help saving money for managing them. As an example, on the Demand-Responsive Transport services that use the Padam Mobility platform, more than 90% of the reservations go through the app.

Under the name “Demand-Responsive Transport” there is therefore, on the one hand, a service which must be reserved the day before by telephone and, on the other hand, a service which can be reserved via an app. Not all solutions fit to all uses cases, and choosing the right tool is a crucial step for the success of a Demand-Responsive Transport service.


Read more about Padam Mobility Demand-Responsive Transport solutions

Read more about other parameters to keep in mind when choosing a Demand-Responsive Transport solution



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Interview with Thierry Occelli, Sophia Antipolis Urban Community

Demand-Responsive Transport: Thierry Occelli

Interview of Thierry Occelli , VP of the Sophia Antipolis Community (CASA) about the implementation of the Icilà Demand-Responsive Transport.

How is the Sophia Antipolis Urban Community (CASA) specifically adapted to the challenges of shared mobility?

CASA is constantly facing new demands and needs, due to the development of the Sophia Antipolis technopolis. CASA is improving its mobility services and is constantly thinking about how to optimize its solutions, mainly in the area of DRT: to expand the resources allocated to the offer, to span new territories, improve booking processes and its reliability, ensure good customer feedback….

Does CASA already have a DRT solution? For which use cases?

Yes. There is already some very successful DRT solutions in 10 areas under the IciLà brand.

  • For school children, the DRT allows trips beyond the traditional hours of school (8am, 5pm). 128,000 journeys have been recorded since it was commissioned a year ago. These trips are carried out on the 24 districts of the agglomeration.
  • For mobility impaired people, we provide a more individualized offer because it allows sidewalk to sidewalk trips.
  • CASA is often asked to deploy this service in the evening, especially during major one-off events (shows, theatres, etc.).
Why did you choose to launch a new service with Padam Mobility?

The main problem faced by the Sophia Antipolis Urban Community regarding to its DRT is the booking. Our call center is often saturated at the beginning of the week, despite the recent introduction of an online pre-booking plant.

Since the main users of CASA’s DRT are high school teenagers, Padam Mobility will make the bookings easier to those who are more comfortable with smartphones.

The agglomeration tend to digitize and dematerialize all the process, especially the transport tickets. We also rely on Padam Mobility to achieve this goal. Finally, the DRT was certified ISO9001 in March 2019 and meets CASA’s ongoing improvement objectives.

What are the locals expectations of DRT?

To be able to book by themselves, online, and easely.

What about your expectations?

The Sophia Antipolis Urban Community expects a lot from this experimentation with Padam Mobility, involving 12 vehicles on 2 areas. Despite the particularity of our offer (zoning, single operator from the first of July), we desire to collect as much quantitative informations as possible (statistics, survey informations, datas, kms travelled, grouping rate, number of people transported, etc.) and qualitative feedbacks (trips evaluations, etc.) because we don’t have them for the moment.

The point is to gain enough detailed datas for the implementation and KPI’s that evaluate if the DRT solutions are improvable.

Padam Mobility provides extremely detailed statistical reports and will be able to meet these expectations. The introduction of a banner in the application, pointing to a satisfaction survey, allows to have very qualitative feedback.

We advocate the responsiveness of our solutions. Like CASA’s dynamic carpooling approach, we want dynamic DRT.

What other innovations are you preparing for shared mobility?

CASA is constantly considering new mobility solutions and has recently embarked on an experimentation of autonomous vehicles on public roads. An experiment on a dedicated track has already taken place in 2016, and now we would like to experiment it in general traffic conditions and on a specific area of Sophia Antipolis (last mile management and intermodality with the future Bustram line).

Padam Mobility works with autonomous vehicle players to offer on demand autonomous vehicles.

Regarding soft mobility, CASA has launched its own bike plan with electric bicycles, opened bike paths with the possibility to use forest tracks, enhanced home-to-work trips, improved traffic black spots, created a bike house in Sophia Antipolis with 10 and soon 20 bikes available, free of charge to users, to promote electric bicycles… Finally, the Sophia Antipolis cycling community was created and already has 500 members.

Thierry Occelli, vice president of the Sophia Antipolis Urban Community.


About Icilà, the Demand-Responsive Transport service of Sophia Antipolis

Launched in July 2019 with Envibus, icilà is a DRT service which meets a great success. With +6600 trips per month for around 37000, the service answers mobility needs in low-density areas of the Sophia Antipolis urban community and at the same time contributes to its digital transformation.

Read more (in French)

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What does your bus ticket price hide ?

real cost of public transportation

The recent release of a report by the Court of Auditors about the annual fraud cost on public transport in Ile-de-France region (as a reminder: about 1 million euros per day [1]), led me to read many more or less virulent reactions on the subject. Between ” Fraud is not good, good payers pay for others,” People cheat because it’s too expensive », « Transport is a public service and should therefore be free or “the If the RATP provided a better service, I would pay for my tickets” no one really seemed to go along with the source of the trouble and the solutions. I realized that beyond the issue of fraud, few people knew the real cost of public transportation and the complex economic balance they conceal.

If you stop a random person on the streets of Paris, chances are that they know the “basic” price of transport in Paris (except perhaps Nathalie Kosciusko Morizet wink): ticket T at 1.80 euros for zones 1 to 2 andNavigo passes at a single rate of 70 euros for zones 1 to 5 since September 2015. We often hear people complaining about the high fare of public transport in Ile-de-France, but you should know that these 1.80 euros that make us sigh so much are only the tip of the iceberg. I’ll make a revelation: this actually represents only 1/3 of the actual cost (tadaaaam!).

A bus ticket actually costs a little more than 5 euros and the navigo pass monthly a little more than 200 euros …

Grass is not necessarly greener elsewhere

When we contrast transport prices in Paris to other European capitals, we quickly realize that Parisian prices (and more generally French prices) are relatively low compared to our European neighbours [2], especially in Northern Europe. This is spotlighted by the map below, which, although somewhat dated, shows some huge gaps:

real cost of public transportation

I remember my surprise, during my Erasmus exchange in Sweden in front of the price of transport in Stockholm (440 Swedish kronor for 10 tickets zones A and B (almost 50 euros). Even worse in London, where despite the introduction of the “Oyster card”, the rates remain very high, with a monthly subscription from £93 to £385, depending on the areas chosen! Let’s not talk about the fraud penalties, which are quite deterrent (40 euros in Berlin and £80 in London), with more frequent checks than Paris.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised during my trips to Lisbon and Barcelona to find transport at more than reasonable rates. France is therefore more in the low average in terms of transport prices.

Of course, we must balance these higher or lower prices with the standard of living – higher in Northern Europe than in Southern Europe – as well as the quality of the networks, which is excellent for example in Scandinavia (taking the commuter train “S-tog” in Copenhagen , a kind of hybrid between an RER and a Transilien, is a real joy). This high quality service has therefore a huge impact on the cost of the ticket.

On the other hand, public subsidies are often lower in the Nordic countries compared to France. This is especially the case in England, where transport privatisation was initiated in the mid-1980s (Hi Margaret Thatcher!). Users pay the high price, but that is actually the “real price” of transport. The question then arises: in Paris region, where does the additional funding that cover the remaining 2/3 of the ticket price come from?

Real cost of public transportation: A finance ensured mainly by companies and communities

The STIF website highlights the transport financing in France [3], spreaded as follows in 2014:

Mobility - Stif Recipes

The first public transport funding stem from local firms, through the VT (Transport Payment). Any company with more than 10 employees pays employer charges to finance the public transport. These revenues are then assigned to the transport authorities (the STIF in this case for Paris area). This tax represents, depending on the companies location, 1.5% to 2.7% of the total payroll. As for the STIF, the transport payment represents 3.6 billion euros in 2014 (65% of its budgetary recipe and almost 40% of the total funding).

Half of the funding is provided by the Ile-de-France region, and the rest is distributed among the departments of France. These contributions from local authorities are financed mainly by local taxes and property taxes borne by households and businesses. Finally, the State also subsidizes part of the ticket price, but to a lower rate than local authorities.

An OMNIL report [4] covering the period 2000-2009 shows that the share of users revenues represents only 30% of the total STIF revenues in 2009:

Mobility - revenue and expenses

This same study also shows that the share of household contributions (i.e. the purchase of tickets or subscriptions) was generally constant over the period 2000-2009:

Mobility - Distribution of the operating resources of public transport in France

Interestingly, the state is gradually withgetting transport funding in the Ile-de-France region, leaving more responsibility for local authorities, especially the region. This change was driven by the wave of decentralization of 2002-2003 and the constitutional law of March 28th 2003, ratified under the Raffarin government [5].

Real cost of public transportation: A sensitive economic balance

The problem is that local authorities have inherited these responsibilities without necessarily benefiting from equivalent funding, leading to a shaky budgetary balance. Ile-de-France specificly has to deal with old and ageing infrastructures in addition to a greater transport demand (for example more than 2 million daily passengers on the A line of the RER). Major maintenance is scheduled every summer until 2021, requiring a complete traffic disruption. Moreover, urban sprawl in Ile-de-France means the extension of existing lines or the construction of new lines (see the Greater Paris project), sometimes at enormous costs.

If we look at the overall expenditure on public transport in France over the period 2000-2009, operating expenditure has increased by 45%, while in comparison capital expenditure has increased by 119%!

Mobility - Global spending

And if we look at the evolution of operating expenses VS the capital expenditure in constant euros, the gap is even more impressive!

real cost of public transportation

Another illustration of this uncertain budgetary balance: the creation of the Navigo single-price pass, a very symbolic measure introduced on September 2015, which is at first glance a good news for users (although this point is questionable [6]). But from an economic perspective, this measure led to revenue decrease estimated in 2016 at 485 million euros by the regional council [7]. Loss that will have to be partially compensated by employers up to 210 million euros via the increase of the Transport Payment. What about the rest? The track mentioned for the moment between Valérie Pécresse, president of Ile-de-France, and Manuel Valls, prime minister, would be to erase a debt of 300 million euros of the regions toward RATP [8], at least for 2016…

I hope that this article will have given you a slightly more global view of our transport, and that you will look at your bus ticket in the future with a different eye. Wink









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Cars VS public transport : a watermelon story…

transport urbain

As the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in a few months in Le Bourget with representatives from 62 countries, we wish to share our thoughts about the role of the car in our cities and its complementarity with public transport.

Transport at the very heart of the COP21’s challenges

You will surely not learn anything new if I tell you that one of the main causes of global warming is the greenhouse gases emission, starting with CO2. All sectors are concerned (agriculture, industry, etc.), but also households and the consumption of goods, the use of electrical devices or their daily travel.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which began several years ago, transport is of course the first to be targeted, as it currently remains the leading greenhouse gas emitting sector according to figures provided by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, despite a decrease by 8 of the emissions since 2004[1]. Transport is thus responsible for 27.8% of national emissions, with firstly road transport (92% of greenhouse gas emissions, including 57% for private vehicles).

Conférence des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques

With a tiny calculation we deduce that private cars alone are responsible for nearly 16% of France’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, efforts have been made in recent years to reduce emissions: vehicles that consume and pollute less, scrapping incentives to encourage the renewal of the French car fleet, tax credits linked to the purchase of hybrid or electric cars, incentives to carpool, etc.

Although these measures obviously contribute to reduce the carbon footprint of individual travel, they are nevertheless based on the use of the car, a personal vehicle that can carry up to 7 people, but that often remains occupied by one or two passengers maximum, especially over short distances. A private car on a home to work journey is thus occupied on average by only 1.1 passengers in Paris area[2], a sign that carpooling is far from being a general rule. A paradox when you know that three buses or a tramway could carry the same number of passengers as 177 cars, as illustrated below:

Optimisation des transports

The idea here is not to denigrate or demonize the car, but to ask ourselves an essential question: why, despite the many existing and often less polluting alternatives (public transport, train, bicycle, etc.), is the car still the favourite transport way, even in urban areas over short distances? When you look at the condition of the ring road of any major French city at peak times, it is legitimate to wonder why so many people prefer cars to public transport.

Public transport: Car, car, my dear car…

First, there is a strong argument in favour of the car: it has a positive image in our society, being generally associated with driving pleasure and freedom rather than CO2 emissions, in the drivers’ mind. French consumers remain very attached to their cars and the positive concepts associated with driving. Aesthetics, speed, well-being, freedom… You only have to look at any car ad to realize that it’s always the same images that come back. The car is thus represented in advertising as a vehicle that drives in huge spaces in or a city totally emptied of its vehicles and its inhabitants. An image totally out of step with the reality of driving and the time spent daily in traffic jams.

This mismatch between advertising and the actual use of a car is very well summed up by Olivier Razemon on his blog [3]: “Nothing is less like everyday urban traffic than a car commercial.”

A second element darkens the idyllic picture presented in the advertisements: the cost of a particular vehicle on a daily basis, between purchase, gas, parking and repairs, the score is rather salty and averages 3300€ per vehicle per year in 2014[ 4].

Of course, it is undeniable that the aesthetics and performance of a car are taken into account when buying a car. The model and characteristics chosen when buying a car allows its owner to have a certain image of himself. However, these arguments alone are inadequate to explain why many french people still prefer their vehicles over public transport. The main argument that could explain the success of the car is, in my opinion, the comfort. Between a noisy sometimes worn out, and often crowded public transport and a car certainly stuck in traffic, but where we are alone, comfortably sitting, the comparison is quickly made . Efforts have been made to improve the comfort of transit users, but for the moment, they remain well below what the car can offer.

Houston, we lost the connection !

The second factor that could explain the car’s success is more practical. Not only does the car avoid connections, but also load breaks during door-to-door trips. The question of intermodality is at stake here: it remains difficult indeed to articulate the use of the car and public transport. Most often this intermodality is done via car parks or relay parks located on the outskirts of cities, right next to public transport lines (metro, tram, trains etc). The problem is that the car parks are quickly saturated since each passenger drives there individually. As a result: anarchic parking, traffic jams, complexity to get nearby…

One of the answers to the question of transit-car intermodality is the one provided by Sharette, a startup that seeks to encourage carpooling to or from transit lines. The solution proposed by Sharette was thus integrated into the route search of the RATP application during the RER A outage during the summer of 2015.


Three kilometers on foot, wear out your shoes for good…

The last complaint that could be attributed to public transport is the rigidity of their fixed lines compared to the very great flexibility of the car. Fixed lines are very well adapted to mass transport, but are much less efficient at meeting dispersed demand, in medium-populated urban areas for example. These fixed lines, organized in Ile-de-France following a radial structure and established for sometimes decades, do not allow to meet the demands in suburb areas, which nevertheless represent more than 30% of the IDF travels according to a STIF study [5]. We notice the same issue on province to province travel, a real headache by train or TGV, where you have to go through Paris most of the time. Similarly, fixed transit lines do not respond well to the problem of the last kilometer: being dropped off two or three kilometres from home and being forced to complete the journey on foot or by bicycle is not necessarilythe best for users.

Public transport: Why don’t we change eras?

A large-scale experiment, completely abolishing fixed lines, has been set up in Finland in Helsinki, where public transport lines adapt in real time to the demand of users. The initiative had two main objectives: on one hand, to allow a better intermodality between “classic” and on-demand public transport, on the other hand to significantly reduce the number of cars in the city. The latter were no longer essential if users could find alternative transport at low cost, offering almost the same flexibility as a private car, with less parking problems.


This is also the vision we share at Padam Mobility: the problem of the last kilometer and the optimization of lines according to demand is a fundamental question to be answered in order to better optimize public transport, and therefore resources. natural resources and public funds. The all-car era may be behind us.

PS: In fact, you’ve been tricked, this article finally had nothing to do with watermelons, thank you for being to the end!


Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy

Office of the Commissioner General for Sustainable Development: Carpooling for commuting to and from work: what potential?

Interconnection is no longer assured, Olivier Razemon’s blog


Public transport networks in the Ile de France: structures and performance

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